Don’t you just love it when your friends think of you when they see an event on Facebook and think of you?! This particular one was Firewalking at the local pub The Black Bull.
Saz tagged me. Blame has been placed 😆
I read it, it sounded interesting and certainly a challenge. The evening would consist of a seminar about empowerment and the build up to the Firewalk.
I thought about it for a few days, wondered if I could do it (and if I could afford it as January was 94 days long and payday was a long way away) I thought there’s only one way to find out. I signed up.
It was for charity too, an animal shelter called Wood Green, it’s where Scampi, my pooch, came from, so it was a good cause.
I asked my friends Saz and Viv if they’d do it with me, Saz said she’d sponsor me and Viv said she’d bring the aloe 😂
So it looked like I was on my own. Not a problem. If you wait to do things with someone all the time opportunities will pass you by, just need to suck it up and do it for you.
I told my work family. First question of course was why? But then they know me so they just accepted it! Trying to explain why became difficult – I didn’t know.
I set up my JustGiving page and started the ball rolling. I had to make a minimum of £100. Turned out to be a piece of cake – my total on up to the night of the walk was £162, so I was grateful and chuffed.
I still had a few weeks to wait so it kind of got put to the back of my mind. That was until during the week before when it started to get discussed again at work and particularly on the Friday before. I really was wondering why I had signed up to it, but I couldn’t/wouldn’t back out now. Besides, it appeared that people had faith in me and believed I could do it – it was worth it just for that. To know that people believed in me was a pretty amazing feeling.
The day dawned. I didn’t think about, didn’t stress about it, in fact I didn’t realise the time and was almost late!!
I turned up at the pub and drove into the car park – no spaces – they were setting the area up with the fire in it. It was at that moment I thought S***, this is happening!
I had to park up the road and walk down. I went in and into the room where everyone was sat and signed the paperwork (waiving liability😳) and sat down.
Kai, the guy who runs it, looked over at me and without speaking asked if I was ok. I nodded, hesitantly, but I think I convinced him? I had met him a couple of weeks before in the pub, he’d been there if anyone wanted to know more and ask questions, so I’d gone down and he’d put my mind at rest.
We sat and waited for a couple more people to turn up and then we began. Or rather Kai did. He talked about the power of the mind. So much that he said resonated with me, I always try to be positive, it attracts positivity, it really does, I firmly believe it.
It then came to the breaking the arrow on your neck part. I’d read about it – or rather my work colleagues had relished looking at that bit on the internet🙄😂. It was something I’d already decided I wanted to try, why not, I was already committed to walking on fire!!
A couple of the others did it first and then he looked at me, raised his eyebrows and I nodded, got up and assumed the position.
I stood in front of him, he placed the tip (standard target arrows) in the part of my neck between the two bones, where it’s fleshy. He then placed the other end on a piece of wood and held the wood still. He didn’t move. I had to. I had to take a step forwards and continue until the arrow bent and eventually snapped. I did it. It felt great. I didn’t waiver or falter, I knew I could do it.
I went back to my seat, with the arrow and felt like I’d achieved something.
He talked some more after that and then came the walking on glass. Yes, glass. I knew this was going to be a part of the evening so I had already given it some thought. I do think about these things, I calculate the risks and weigh up if they are worth the gain, despite what my Mum thinks (hello Mum, love you😘). The outcome being that I wasn’t prepared to try it. Although, I did waiver slightly, I did consider it, but there were a few people who did it so I shrank back into my seat and watched.
The glass was made up of broken bottles, kept in a large trunk like suitcase wrapped in white sheets, this enabled it all to be lifted out and placed onto the floor – where they’d laid big (I think) polystyrene tiles to protect the floor. It wasn’t a huge distance to walk but far enough. He explained that if you put your foot down and it hurt, don’t continue (really??!), don’t try and shuffle it to make your foot fit, simply lift it off and place it down again.
He held the hand of each person to steady them as they made their way across. They all made it look easy. When they got to the other end – each one took about 3/4 steps – they stood on a soft padded bit and then knelt on some cushions so their feet could be brushed to remove any tiny shards of glass they may have picked up.
After this had been done and each person who wanted to had had their try it was all packed away. The time for us to venture outside was getting ever closer. I still wasn’t nervous.
The lady who was helping Kai went outside to check with the fire tenders if it was ready yet.
It was close, Kai then ran through the principles of walking on fire. Not too fast, otherwise you may trip or kick up coal pieces and not too slow, just a steady pace. He said no one had to walk if they didn’t want to.
It was time to go outside.
It was dark and cold. We walked over to where the tenders were tending (funny that!) the fire. They had started to poke the fire to break up the wood into smaller pieces so they could spread the pieces out. This they did, Kai flattened them with the back of a spade, lining one side with big pieces of logs that were still glowing, it was quite pretty. Some turf had been laid at the beginning and end, which was welcome because after taking my boots and socks off, the gravel car park was quite painful (I know! Just about to walk on fire and I was uncomfortable on gravel!🙄😂)
I looked around to see if my friends were there, they were, Viv, Julie and Mel. They don’t know how much they helped.
Somehow a queue had formed and the first person was taking their first step. We all encouraged each other, a couple were hesitant but they did it.
It was suddenly my turn. The cold damp turf felt great under my feet – that’s something you don’t do very often, you should, it feels great – I did it on a second date once in a busy park in Cambridge, not sure what he thought but I saw him a few times after soooo – I was just being me😃
Anyway, my turn, I stood there, very very focused. There was no question about me not doing it. I composed myself, focused on Kai at the end and took my first step…out of six!! Too many!! As I began to walk he realised I was going too slow so said faster faster, so my last three steps were at a bit of a trot!!😂🤦🏼♀️
I launched myself at him at the end and he grabbed me, asked me if was ok and if I wanted my feet hosed down, which I declined.
I went and found my boots and put them on, others were still walking, when everyone had done it he asked if anyone would like to go again. No, I didn’t. But a few of them did!!
When we’d all finished we went back inside for a debrief and our certificates, they also had bottled some of the ash into tiny bottles for us which I thought was a fab idea. I also kept my broken arrow, it’s on my desk at work as a reminder I can do what I put my mind to.
My feet were tingling/stinging, he’d described it as slapping your hands really hard and fast together. It was worse. It came in waves and required a lot of control, mind over matter again.
I drove home after having a quick beer, I wanted to get my boots off. I soaked them in a bowl of water which was lovely and I tried to wash the soot and ash off.
Over the coming days it became apparent I had burnt them. I’d walked too slow.
The healing of them became another process of mind over matter. I had to walk so any pain had to be ignored or dealt with. Simples. Scampi still needed to be walked. I had to work – although wearing my work dresses with my walking boots didn’t look great and I probably looked like I’d had an accident the way I was hobbling but hey ho!😂
It was self inflicted. A risk I took. I don’t regret it. Nothing exciting happens in your comfort zone. Life is for experiences. I have a story to tell my Grandchildren. I won’t do it again, I don’t need to, I can say I walked on fire…
I’m a Firewalker